For many new believers the day they are baptized is a joyous and memorable occasion. A point in which they will look back on and remember declaring their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. While this remains true for many new believers in the Middle East, the statements above are also true. Many new believers have family members and close friends who actively seek to mock, disown, or even kill them due to this decision. They have made the final decision from which there is no turning back. We recognize that baptism does not have any bearing on salvation, rather it is a step of obedience to Christ and a representation of what he has already done in your heart. But for the family members of those coming to Christ from other religious backgrounds, there is always a chance to bring their loved one back, until they are baptized. That is the point of no return and often that is the point in which the persecution ramps up in intensity. What would you do if your father, mother, or sibling said these things to you? Would you go through with your decision to be baptized? I honestly cannot say as I have never had to make that decision. However, this week in the Middle East, 5 new believers made that choice even though these exact phrases were used to threaten them not to. Instead, they chose Jesus over the threats of family and potentially over life itself. They remain convinced that the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is worth all persecution and even death. Jesus is worth it. So, rejoice with us this week as five new brothers and sisters declared their faith in Jesus. Pray also for these and others in the Middle East who are living for Christ at great risk to their own well-being. Pray for them to keep their eyes fixed on the one who has called them to eternal glory and that as they look forward to that day, they will faithfully endure whatever comes their way in this world.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10